Magic esports to introduce splits with Zendikar Rising’s release

WotC has new plans for the 2020 season.

Magic the Gathering Treasure Constructed on MTG Arena
Image via Wizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering

The renewal of Magic: The Gathering’s esports scene will accompany the release of the upcoming MTG set, Zendikar Rising, in August, Wizards of the Coast announced today.

The Magic season was forced to adapt after stay-at-home orders caused the Magic Pro League and in-person paper tournaments to cease operations earlier this year. Play resumed with a truncated Players Tour Online season, which concludes on Aug. 1.

WotC announced the full, remote resumption of Magic esports starting in October with the Zendikar Rising split, featuring 72 of Magic’s best players competing for a World Championship spot in 2021.

The Zendikar Rising split features two League Weekends through October and November. Each weekend will feature 24 players in the MPL and 48 players in the Magic Rivals League. Players in each league will play against others within their league during League Weekends with each match win counting for one point in the standings.

At the end of Zendikar Rising split, there will be a Championship tournament. Each split’s Championship will determine seeding in the relegation and promotion tournaments at the end of the 2020 season. The MPL Gauntlet pits MPL players against the top Rivals League players for entry into the MPL for the 2021 season. The Rivals Gauntlet will match top Rivals League players against the best Challengers, non-league players, for a spot in the Rivals League.

The top four MPL players automatically advance to the next season and the top four Rivals League players earn promotion to the MPL.

Through all League Weekends, MPL and Magic Rivals League players will compete in 84 matches across seven weekends. These are the only tournaments that award points in the standings.

The Zendikar Rising split will be followed by the next set, codenamed “Equestrian.” It’ll have three League Weekends and “Fencing,” which has two League Weekends scheduled.